Last weekend, eight members of the high school Class of 2011 made their official visits to Kansas University to tour the football facilities and meet with the coaching staff.
All but one of them had already committed to Kansas, making the visit as much about getting to know future teammates as it was about getting to know KU.
The one player on the visit who was — and still is — undecided on where he will go to school was four-star athlete Anthony Pierson, a running back from East St. Louis High in Illinois.
Pierson is one of the top remaining players who has not yet committed to a school, and the Jayhawks appear to be in as good a standing as anyone for his services. For starters, recruiting coordinator Reggie Mitchell is the lead recruiter on this one. And everywhere he’s been, Mitchell has had a reputation for bringing in big-time talent.
Another thing working in KU’s favor is the fact that the Jayhawks can offer Pierson something that not everyone else recruiting him can.
“I want to go where I can get early playing time and get a good education,” Pierson told Otis Kirk, of Rivals.com site HawgSports.com. “I just want to play football, get an education and win games. Those are the things that are important to me.”
KU coach Turner Gill has said all along that one of his biggest selling points on the recruiting trail this offseason would be playing time. The fact that his team finished 3-9 in 2010 while playing a host of freshmen helps Gill’s credibility when offering such opportunities.
Asked at his season-ending news conference what such a pitch might sound like, Gill obliged.
“You’re gonna have an opportunity to play,” he said. “Not to say that somebody may come in here and start, but they’re all gonna have an opportunity to play and the best person’s gonna be out there.”
Pierson, 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, could quickly become one of KU’s best players. During a recent breakdown of all the prospects in the country, Rivals.com’s Mike Farrell ranked Pierson as the fourth fastest player available. His 40-yard dash time is listed as 4.45 seconds. Said Farrell: “Pierson is a flat-out blazer who is a threat to score from anywhere.”
Pierson has been recruited as a running back, slot receiver and a safety. He has received offers from Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, and Arkansas. He had been committed to Mizzou but decommitted in November and appears to be wide open. Mitchell had an in-home visit with Pierson last week.
Joining Pierson on his recent visit to KU were offensive linemen Dylan Admire, Phil Ford and Travis Bodenstein, running back Dreamius Smith, linebacker Jason Hensley, and Texas teammates Ben Goodman and Collin Garrett from West Brook High, in Beaumont, Texas.